Saturday, October 27, 2018

camera glitches at the philly bike expo

I went to the Philly Bike Expo today in the impending Nor'Easter that wasn't (well, I wasn't going on a group ride, right?). I had a great time looking at all the bikes and stuff, but almost none of my pictures came out; they mostly look like this:


I did get a good pic of the jewelry box that Silca sells as a hex-and-torx set:

(Like, would you ever put you greasy fingers into that lovely wooden box to pull out one of those wrenches?)

And there's now a builder in Buffalo NY making bikes out of wood.

Although, if you're gonna do a wooden bike...

I also liked this raw carbon fiber frame. If more of 'em looked like this, I'd like 'em better. (Don't worry: there's an art contest. The winning design will be painted onto the bike and the clearcoated, and the artist of the winning design gets a $10 gift certificate off the cost of a frame, or something.)

This corrugated plastic box goes over your rear rack. It replaces panniers, but, at $86, it seems a bit spendy.

There was a lot of lovely machining that I'm never gonna buy, but I love the look of it anyway.

And, this being a bike show in Philadelphia, with sprinklings of folks from the Pacific Northwest and other places of interest throughout the country, I got to rub elbows with people with tattoos, nifty-colored hair, interesting piercings, luxuriant facial hair, and all the other stuff that reminds me just how un-hip I really am. To underscore the point, I wore a white button-down collar and a bow tie. If I'm gonna be un-hip, I'm taking it as far as I can.

And I only bought a hat for The Excellent Wife (TEW), and a tire jack for the road. I got away cheap!

Remember all that rain? Some of our intrepid showgoers still rode in; below are pics  of the free bike parking on the ground floor. The racks are mostly empty, but not completely abandoned.

How's THAT for Rule 9?

Saturday, October 20, 2018

it wasn't raining, but there were hills

One of Laura OLPH's recent blog posts is titled, "They Weren't Hills. It Wasn't Raining." Well, it wasn't raining today... but it had only recently stopped, as you can tell by the puddles in my pictures at the start...

... and there was definitely mist to the point that we were a bit soggy, although my glasses stayed clear enough to see through. The weather was cool enough to start that we all wound up with too much gear on, and there was an early stop for a wardrobe adjustment.

Only three of us -Ricky, Andrew A, and I - were stupid intrepid enough to come out for this ride, what with the weather, the promised distance of 55 miles, and the probable climbs to Califon. Laura's ride description included the phrase, "... with a few big ascents 'cause we have to earn our muffins", and she made sure we did.

I was smitten by the stainless steel in the sunlight at the dairy... well as the first few glimpses of autumn (and isn't it near the end of October? Where IS autumn, anyway?)

Laura led us up Deer Hill Road, which she warned us about, and Bissel, which she didn't. Bissel is shorter, but worse because of the false crests: get to what you think is the top, turn, and keep climbing.

Laura was impressed that we didn't cuss her out. In my case, it was only because I didn't have breath to do so.

We stopped at the Califon General Store, which is a great stop, almost worth what you have to go through to get there.

Then back. We had to climb out of Califon, but then a great descent down Guinea Hollow and the Rockaway.

By then the sky had cleared quite a bit and some of the roads were dry... so it wasn't raining. but there were hills; go check out the ride page to see the 3600' of climb that I got, and those wicked hills in the middle. I'm done for the day.

No Sunday rides tomorrow or next week: real life beckons, in terms of friends and family commitments. After that, we'll see what the weather does. I've listed 16 rides this year, and only been able to run eleven of 'em because weather interfered with the others. If I can list rides, I hope to see you out there.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

no sunday rides next two weeks

Family and social responsibilities are making their demands, and they happen to be demanding the next two Sundays (and some other days too; looks like I won't get to the Philly Bike Expo). Weather permitting, I'll try to schedule after that.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

surprise crowd

I had only two takers on the last ride I listed (that wasn't an all-paces ride) and only one on the ride before that. But when it's this late in the season, and the Saturday rides are mostly rained out, and there are only six rides listed anyway for the day...

... well, when those factors and perhaps others come into play, things change; I had nine to start at Blackwells Mills. A number of them were The Usual Suspects: some of Laura OLPH's Hill Slugs (we share members with Tom H's Insane Bike Posse):Andrew A, Ricky G, Tom H, Laura, Chris D, and Peter G. Marty G, whom I've met on the Team Social Security rides, and Mindy B, who volunteered with The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I at a couple of events, and Mini B, with whom I rode early in the year.

I was so flabbergasted by the turnout that I didn't get pictures at the start, and instead threatened everybody's safety be getting these while riding:

That's Marty above. Do you think he needs to loosen up a little?

This crowd has a range of abilities, so when I called for sprints on Hillsborough Road, we got all spread out. But for some, this ride was a bit of a stretch from their usual pace, and I (gratefully) hung back with 'em, until we got to those annoying hills on Homestead Road. (I started a RideWithGPS segment on Homestead Road for no other reason than because I could call the segment "I hate Homestead Road". I'm sixth out of 25 who have ridden it as I write this. One of the advantages of riding on roads nobody else likes to ride on is that you seem faster than you really are.)

We bobbled through Hillsborough, and got to East Mountain Ave, where I allowed for another sprint. At the other end, I graciously allowed the folks who had rolled in last to catch their breath. I was, of course, one of the breath-catchers.

Peter G rolled out after that, and the rest of us went to the stop at the bagel place in the Princeton North shopping center.

Bike pics? Of course!

At that point, Andrew went for home, and Mindy and Mini took the short way back; I led the others on a longer way -- but then Laura, Ricky, and Tom rolled off on THEIR own way. So I got Marty and Chris back to the start.

The Ride Page includes my rides to and from home; the ride itself was about 35 miles. 

Marty mentioned the blog, and I wanted to be sure he made it, so we got this picture:

So stiff and inhibited!

Now, Chris C and I have this thing about our hubs; we use pipe cleaners on 'em to keep 'em clean. In this pic, I think you can see the dirt that the pipe cleaner has cleaned off the hub:

See all that black mung in the pipe cleaner? Not only does this make us faster, but we'll probably get an extra few thousand miles out of the wheels this way, don't you think?

Naaah, I don't think so either. But I like the pipe cleaners on the hubs.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

jack's jerks

I'd worked on the Sunday and had yesterday (Wednesday) off in exchange, so when I overheard Tom H talking abut a ride for yesterday, in my best annoying-little-brother-that-nobody-wanted manner, I got myself invited along.

It turned out that Jack H was planning the route; when I got to the start, he had planned a route that covered a bunch of his favorite roads. Jack never leads rides, and he's been riding for decades, so this promised to be a good trip.

We met at Moody Park, near where Jack grew up.

That's Jack, Tom H, and Ricky.

We did five miles through Ewing and the area, seeing some of Jack's landmarks, and it was fun poppin' through the neighborhoods. We then headed up towards Pennington and the Sourlands, although we didn't hit all the hills.

We stopped for cows, remembering Laura, who was actually working.

(Yeah. Like I'm gonna know where that was. HAH!)

Somewhere along the way, we got to talking about what to call this group: if Tom has his "Insane Bike Posse", and Laura OLPH has the "Hill Slugs", then it only seems fair that we have a name when we ride with Jack. I think Ricky came up with "Jack's Jerks".

We got to Ringoes with 30 miles under our belts, and Jack started talking about the other roads on his route. I realized we were only about halfway done. It was way more than I expected.

You can see the whole route on the ride page. It's a great ride, but it was longer than I was ready for, and I'm limping a bit today. (I was limping worse at the time I got home yesterday, I assure you!)

After the ride, Jack sent us all an email:
Hey guys, Dorothy says I'm hard to live with since my first leading ride today.  I told her I got rave reviews all day from you all. I may start my own club, Jacks Jive Jerks. I might even do tours.Might even start a blog.
We let him know we'd already decided on the name.

It was a great ride, with people I like. There are worse things to do on a mid-week day off. If the opportunity arises, I hope I can nag my way into another invitation.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

worn out necktie.

I guess it can happen, but it was a surprise to me. I have worn out a necktie.

The silk there has worn away on the side, exposing the cheap support fabric beneath. I've never seen anything like it.

It's a Bert Pulitzer tie; I was given it in the 80's by a guy who bought a supply of ties every year, and this was one of maybe ten or a dozen "last year's ties" he gave to me. It wasn't a top brand, but it wasn't cheap either. And while I wear ties daily now for work, I didn't for almost a decade when I worked in the welfare office.

It was one of my collection of "power ties" from the era (for no reason I can figure out, ties with a yellow ground color were among the "power ties", as I remember).

I have plenty more, and I'm buying bow ties these days, anyway. But I thought it was a curiosity worth marking... and now I'll probably never think of it again.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

nothing to prove

Laura OLPH's description of today's ride on the club website read,

It's October. We have nothing to prove. Let's go find some cows and coffee. We'll ride 45-ish miles with hills and average under 15 mph. Contact me for 6 extra miles. 
I considered the extra miles, and decided against it; a fellow Freewheeler had lent me an afghan, which was laundered and bundled in the car, and I hoped to see him today. But "nothing to prove" had me. I needed a ride with "nothing to prove".

When I got to the start at Twin Pines, the rider I'd hoped to return the afghan to wasn't there, but Jack H was rolling around the lot (having ridden in from home in Pennsylvania) and Tom H was unpacking and setting up. Soon Andrew A rode in, then Laura and Ricky.

Before we were about to leave, a young, frighteningly fit-looking fellow drove in and joined us. He turned out to be another Jim (shall we call him Young Jim? Trim Jim? James the Less*, perhaps?). He had a number sticker on his helmet from a triathlon in Atlantic City. Despite that, he turned out to be remarkably well-behaved, didn't show off by pushing he pace or riding off the front, and politely laughed at some of our jokes. Garrulous does not describe him. We hope he comes back for another ride.

*Talk to one of us of a certain age and a Catholic school upbringing if you want to know the background of this probably-too-obscure reference.

There was mist as we left the lot. We were sure it would clear up as the day went on. All the predictions were for a decent day.

The predictions were wrong. While I don't think we had actual rain, we were at least moist, and frequently sodden, for most of the ride.

And despite the "nothing to prove" nature advertised for this ride, we went up Woodens Lane, which rises over 250' in about a mile. I'll bet it's more fun in the other direction.

We stopped in at Michael's Wheelfine Imports, because Ricky and The Other Jim had never been there. Some of us were amused by the mess, but as Ricky was leaving, I could tell that visions of another steel bike were dancing in his head.

Then to Sergeantsville, where we came across another group of riders out on this wet day. "Who would be crazy enough to get out for a bike ride on a day like this?" I asked.

"You're lookin' at 'em," one of them answered.

The lens was wet when I took this, but I loved the moose on the bike:

We took a direct rout back, with a couple of tough climbs but fewer miles than originally planned; still, we came in with 44 soggy miles and 2600' of climb.

We got nothing to prove.